CLEVELAND ROAD, E18
We met our client, Colin, and his 4 daughters after they got in touch with Syndicate West last year. Colin is a stroke survivor with an amazing career in the film industry. When we met at his house, his MTV award for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video sat on his shelf. Colin’s stroke left him paralyzed down the right side of his body and afflicted with Aphasia, affecting his speech. Colin lived predominantly on the First Floor of his 3-storey Town House, which he accessed using a chair lift. The Ground Floor, comprising a garage-utility space, small kitchen-diner and W.C, was unusable for his needs. The family had been toying with the idea of moving house, but since this would involve a lot of upheaval, they approached Syndicate West to see if there was a way to make the ground floor fit-for-purpose. We believed this was possible by opening up and extending the Ground Floor to create an open plan Kitchen-Dining-Living space. We promised step free access to Colin, so he could get out of his car, through the front door and into the rear garden completely independently.
The first problem was how to create an open plan environment in a 3-storey Town House, without the obligatory fire-regulated enclosed stair case. The solution was a Voltek Fire Suppression System, which is an intelligent mist sprinkler using smart heat sensors and infrared targeting. Once we’d agreed this with Building Control, the open plan scheme could be realised.
The next design problem to resolve was how best to create a fully functional kitchen that Colin could use independently. The solution is bespoke cabinetry that floats off the floor, allowing Colin’s feet and his walking aid to get underneath. The central island unit is designed with Colin’s ergonomics fully in mind. As an aid memoir for Colin, the cabinets have been finished in 3 contrasting tones. All the drawers are soft-close push to open and no bending down is required to access any of the storage. Discrete lighting is operated by a touch sensor, illuminating the work surfaces and floors beneath. A utility storage wall was created from inexpensive fire doors, enhanced with a spray finish by Flo-Rite. We integrated the old fridge with a re-clad, spray-finished door. One part of Syndicate West’s commitment to RetroFirst was to refurbish d line ironmongery that Martin had in his loft, adding the final touches.
The downstairs WC is enlarged and fully accessible to Colin.
Colin’s lack of mobility means that he gets cold quickly, so we needed to think carefully about environmental conditioning. Super insulated floors and walls at both ends, triple glazed sliding doors (that Colin can open easily with one hand) and zonal under floor heating resolve this problem.
The scheme continues into the new rear extension, creating a lounge where Colin (and Martin) can listen to his music collection on incredible Tannoy Speakers. A bespoke flush threshold, fabricated by Essex Laser, leads onto a patio, tiled in a slip resistant surface. This completes the step free access from front door to back lawn.
This project was completed in Summer 2019.